Plenty of governments break international law all the time, but few have the decency—or, perhaps, stupidity—to just come out and admit it. Brexit talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union have been thrown into disarray this week by Boris Johnson’s attempts to unpick parts of the deal he happily signed up to last year. The so-called withdrawal agreement between the U.K. and the EU, which set out the gradual process for Britain leaving the bloc, became international law when the U.K. left the EU in January. Johnson’s Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis was asked Tuesday if the proposal to alter the agreement broke the law, and he said: “Yes. This does break international law in a very specific and limited way.” Johnson revealed this week that he intends to introduce a new bill that could affect post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland, which would effectively override the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
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